Wandering Thoughts archives


What I needed to make my custom Fedora 8 environment work

One of my little peculiarities is that I use a quite custom environment, one that comes nowhere near a graphical login program, much less Gnome or KDE. One of the consequences of this is that I get to set up by hand a number of things that a normal environment runs automatically, like volume management.

These custom things keep changing themselves as I move from version to version of Fedora, so here is what I had to do to get my environment running nicely under Fedora 8:

  • If you start your X session by hand yourself, you need to run both ck-xinit-session and dbus-launch to set up the client environment properly:
    /usr/bin/ck-xinit-session /usr/bin/dbus-launch --exit-with-session actual-session-script

    (Normal people probably want to run ssh-agent too, but I don't use ssh keys with passphrases. You can dig this stuff out of /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc and associated files.)

  • volume management hasn't changed; you run 'gnome-volume-manager --sm-disable'.

  • in a change from the past, the right sound daemon to run is now pulseaudio. I found it necessary to remove its PID file beforehand too in order to make sure that it always started.

    (The PID file for me is /tmp/pulse-login/pid.)

Getting Flash to work on my 64-bit machine was a little intricate. I installed the 32-bit Flash RPM from Adobe's official repository and both the 64-bit and the 32-bit versions of nspluginwrapper, but this still left it unable to do sound. To fix that I had to install the 32-bit version of the alsa-plugins-pulseaudio RPM, which I had to fish out of the i386 Fedora 8 repository by hand (it is not available in the x86_64 repository).

(Someday gnash et al will work well enough that I can bid a gleeful farewell to the 32-bit Adobe Flash plugin, but I am not energetic enough to fight that particular battle yet.)

linux/MyCustomFedora8Environment written at 22:54:09; Add Comment

Why people are accepting bad uptimes from Internet applications

Recently (for my version of recently), some pundits have asked why people are willing to accept the sometimes less than stellar uptimes that they get from your typical internet service. (Okay, the original article applied the question to various other services too.)

My view is that it's pretty simple and really comes down to two things:

  • people are not willing to abandon flawed services, because flawed services are generally better than nothing.
  • people are also not willing to pay the price of carrier grade uptimes, because most of the time such a high uptime doesn't really matter to people.

The second is because once you achieve a basic level of reliability, most of the time people either don't notice a downtime (because they're not using the service at the time) or don't care that much when they do notice (because it's not important enough to them).

Without either government regulation or enough people being willing to give up entirely on merely ordinarily reliable Internet services, there is not enough pressure on service providers to force them to improve things. And neither seems very likely to happen.

(Well, okay, there is one more source of pressure: if a competitor introduces a service that's as good, more or less as cheap, and significantly more reliable, and you can't make your service better than theirs so you have to compete on reliability.)

(You might think that people could sell higher reliability for a higher price, but experience seems to show that such things are niche products at best.)

tech/WhyLowInternetUptimes written at 00:22:37; Add Comment

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